Jan 14

My Resolution 2016

Hi Everyone and Happy 2016! I hope y’all are doing great! I want to tell you about something I’m doing today.

My friend Christa, invited me to be part of her blog series New Year, New Thing: Fresh Approaches to Old Resolutions.  I’m sharing how I’ve resolved to be more than a good Bible study girl this year. I’m a Bible teacher and leader right, so it should be easy for me. Not. Read on to check out what I’ve resolved to do this year~

This is the year. I’m going to actually keep my resolutions & goals with #1 being to spend time in God’s Word every single day for at least fifteen minutes.

As I look back, this goal has come up almost every year. And like most other resolutions, it is made with the best of intentions and full confidence that this will be the year to begin and finish strong.

I begin strong. I even make a plan to help ensure all goes well. I put it on my calendar, work it into my day. I might even ask a friend or two to help hold me accountable.

So what happens?

Click here to join me at Christa’s place to read the rest!

Melissa
Sep 27

Are Crumbs Enough?

After a predominantly “toddler-populated” and very long flight home from Israel, I walked into my home here in Charlotte, NC. I found myself welcomed by two sweet pups, who obviously missed me. I could tell because they were SO EXCITED. And one of them even made a little tinkle. (Forgive me I know that sounds so silly, but she did!) Also home was Dylan, sick with a fever home from school. My how reality hits fast. Despite the long flight with little to no sleep, the sick child at home, and the new spot on the carpet needing immediate attention, I am thankful.

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted about how I’d lost my mo-jo. I Became Unconfident As Just Me. I was hoping this trip to Israel would light my fire so to speak. Refresh me. Renew my faith and give me a quench for God and His Word like never before. All that and so much more happened.

Sea of Galilee and Mountains

I want my faith to be like the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15: 21-28. Go ahead and read it all now, then we’ll disect it. (You can just read through the following passage and my notes here,  or you can get out your Bible and notebook and study it with me~ Seriously, I’m studying this as I write this post.)

Begin with verse 21 in Matthew 15.  Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Stop. Now before I went to Israel, I would have skimmed this verse, just to get to what I considered to be the meat of the message. But I’ve learned to slow down when reading Scripture.

  • What place did Jesus leave? Gennasaret (Matthew 14:34) Near to the photo taken above.
  • And when it says “withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon,” just what does that mean? Tyre and Sidon were both mentioned in Matthew 11 when Jesus spoke of cities that did not repent. Verse 21: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” Foreshadowing maybe?
  • How far is that? About 35-38 miles (remember no Uber back then, Jesus was on foot!)
  • What is the land like? He had to cross mountains before getting the coast (Tyre). The land of Israel is not typically easy terrain.
  • How long did it take? I don’t know. A few days at least would be my guess.
  • What is the signifigance of these 2 cities? Why here? We see these cities mentioned in Matthew 11 and now if we read on in Matthew 15, we find out there is a woman here who needs Jesus. Let’s read on.

When we continue to read in Matthew 15:21-28, we find that a Canaanite (not Jewish, but a Gentile) woman comes to Jesus, calling him “Lord, Son of David” asking for healing for her demon-posessed daughter. The disciples traveling with Jesus didn’t seem to have much compassion on this woman. They urged Jesus to send her away. They are obviously annoyed by her.

Jesus says to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (See Verse 24 here for explanation.) Once you read the explanation, you realize how rare this request is and how rare for Jesus to grant it. Basically He’s telling her that she’s not really a part of His mission today.

After Jesus replied to her, she changed instantly, calling Him just “Lord.” She dropped the “Son of David.” Just “Lord.” And she pleads, “Lord, help me!” 

He replied with a response that people of that time would understand. Verse 26~ “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Jews of that time understood the richness of bread. And Gentiles were often referred to as dogs. What this verse is saying is that Jesus came to give the Jews the first opportunity to know Him as Lord. She, as a Gentile, is only receiving the crumbs. And just look at her reply. Oh how I love this.

“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

This woman understands that crumbs from the Master’s table are enough.

In verse 28, Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

She gets it. Unlike so many, she gets it. She’s willing to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God’s blessing for her daughter. She recognizes Him as her Lord.

I want faith like this, but the truth is, sometimes I want more. Ok, a lot of times I want more.

  • “Lord, help me by giving me time to study your Word.” Then I add, “Without interruption. At least an hour every morning.”
  • “Lord, help by giving me a good job to help provide for my family.” Then I add, “And money to get more clothes, furniture and take vacations too.”
  • And just recently, I prayed, “Lord, as I leave Israel, please allow me experience peace, thanksgiving and stay focused on you.” Then I added, “No distractions. No obstacles. No problems. No frustrations.” (hahahahahahaha, that’s pretty funny huh?)

This woman in Matthew 15 was willing to take the crumbs from her Master. Healing for her daughter, no more. She called Him Lord. That’s all.

Something to Think About

When you read Scripture, do you fly through it looking for a blessing or word of encouragement for the day?

Arie, our teacher in Israel, challenged us to read the Bible like a piece of music. Each word is like a note. Imagine if a note was left out or if the wrong note was inserted in your favorite song? It would change the whole tune. Look closely at all the words in the Bible when you read it. Even the ones that don’t seem important.

Maps! People! Studying the land and people of Israel is so helpful in understanding Scripture.

Are crumbs from the Master’s table enough for you?

After studying this passage a bit more, my perspective is different. And I can say despite the screaming toddlers on the plane, lack of sleep, the sick child, and the tinkle on the carpet, I am thankful. Crumbs are enough. More than enough.

 

Melissa
Sep 19

Shabbat Shalom, Day 5

Shabbat Shalom my friends!  Which means: Peaceful Sabbath my friends!

Shabbat is Judaism’s day of rest and seventh day of the week, on which the Jewish people remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and God resting on the seventh. Here among the Jewish Believers in Israel is where I am enjoying my peaceful Sabbath today.

This week I’ve been on a study tour throughout Israel with a small group of women. We are traveling with Lysa TerKeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries. While seeing some amazing sights, it’s really been the study along with the learning of historical and current events, geography, and agriculture that has been life-changing. Yes, life-changing. I don’t use that term lightly.

I thought when I came here, I would be most excited to be “where Jesus walked.” To see “what Jesus saw.” To pray “where Jesus prayed.” And Oh my goodness, that really has been … well, unbelievable! It’s humbling to think that I’m looking and walking on the land where Jesus, Abraham, Moses, David and Joshua were, just to name a few. But here is the blessing for all of us. We don’t have to be here to be close to Jesus. We don’t have to see what He saw or pray where He prayed. Our prayers and faith are just as strong anywhere else in the world. After all, God knows our hearts. Acts 15:8-9 is just one passage of Scripture where this is referenced.

What I’ve been most excited about on this trip is that I’m learning more about the Bible than I ever pieced together before. The order of the Lord is astounding! It is so evident and clear that He has a plan for our world. This land and it’s geography alone confirms Scripture. The Old Testament Scriptures are so intertwined with the New Testament in ways I didn’t see before until this intense study and learning of the land and history. My heart and brain are full! And I still have the Sea of Galilee and Mt. Arabel to explore!

Today we attended a Shabbat service, which takes place each Saturday here (at Yad Hashmona) at 11:00 am Israel Time. What a wonderful time of worship among this family of Jewish Believers. It was in Hebrew with English translation. After a time of worship, prayer and specifically praying for the children, a message based on Acts 15:1-12 was given. Y’all seriously, I could write 10 pages from this, but I’ll save that sharing for another day (and it will come because I can’t keep it to myself!!!).

Here are just few pictures from the day today~

IMG_3637Worship today at Shabbat service.

IMG_3639Under these vines, we studied John 15 in the afternoon. Jesus is the True Vine.

IMG_3628Sunset over Israel. Stunning.

Something to Think About

I’ve shared with you today how I spent my Shabbat (Sabbath) today. How did you or will you spend yours this week?

Thanks for coming back to read today. We are heading to the Sea of Galilee as I type this! Have a great day!

Shabbat Shalom!

 

Melissa